The main reasons that I switched to Linux were:
- My windows 10 partition was having some overall speed problems
- Almost all of the development tutorials were in either Ubuntu or MacOS X, everywhere I saw these terminal commands, sudos, greps, curls and nice batch scripts; also, Meteor and Laravel don’t play too nice with Windows.
I wanted an OS that was simple for beginners venturing into the Linux world and looked as pretty as Windows 10 or Mac.
So it begun, I found two candidates: Elementary OS (Ubuntu based) and Apricity (Arch Linux), in my opinion, Apricity looked way cooler than EOS but I fell for EOS minimalistic approach and the fact that it’s based on Ubuntu.
The installation was easy, I followed a tutorial step by step and no big deal. The switch, however, was a headache at first:
Ok, I didn’t know how to use the thing besides the normal commands I already knew (mkdir, cd, ls, touch, curl and sudo), so I had to google some commands and I was surprised to find out about something called bash-scripting; damn son, you can do some very interesting and time-saving tasks with it! I find myself now using just 1 command to extract password-protected Rars in a folder without blinking an eye, doing crazy-renaming with files, automating video downloads from various sources using the Wget command, do some programmed shutdowns without 3rd party software and much more, I’m really in love with Bash-scripting.
2) The software
This is the every-day discussion and main reason people don’t want to switch. I was not pumped to leave Photoshop and Microsoft Office (which is the best piece of software in its category, no doubt) behind in favour of Gimp and WPS (which is the one that comes the closest to MS Office); the rest of the software wasn’t an issue, I found alternatives and most of the dev software I had was available for Linux! Later on, I found out that I could run Windows software on Linux using Wine and PlayOnLinux, I can’t run Visual Studio on it though… and some other programs gave me errors but the ones I wanted the most could be installed without any issue.
Using apt-get is super-easy and the software center has some interesting apps in it, some software comes in .deb files (for Debian/ubuntu distros) just like you’d have .exes and .msi installers on Windows or .dmg files on Mac. I still miss the hell out of MS Office, I am poor and can’t afford it, I’m done with pirating software, it’s insecure and feels bad so whenever I have to use it I run the Windows 10 partition via GRUB (the boot loader).
3) The OS itself
Elementary os gorgeous and has nice hardware support! In Windows, it was kinda harder to connect a monitor or projector but it’s just so straightforward in EOS, it gives me the percentage of power left in my wireless keyboard but the notification center leaves a lot to be desired in EOS (I think there are other distros with better notification centers). It has task view like Mac and virtual desktops out-of-the-box like Windows 10.
The settings panel is very minimalistic but most of the advanced settings shall be changed via terminal commands (make sure not to break stuff with it) such as switching clock formats from 24hrs to 12hrs. Installing a new language is as easy as it gets, I have it in both English and Spanish. It also boots hella fast and the dock called Plank doesn’t do more than I require of it.
The hardest part for me has been the Alt Codes, you can’t do alt codes in Mac and Linux so you need to use Ctrl+Shift+U and then type a 4 digit Unicode to represent a character; the easiest way for me to remember is annotate the characters I used the most with Alt Codes and if I don’t but I somehow remember the ASCII code, I convert it to Hexadecimal and I know that’s what I should put in the Unicode, for example, if I want to do the backtick, it’s Alt+96 on Windows (I have my keyboard in Spanish) and with Unicode I have to type 0060 (0x60 to decimal is 96) after Ctrl+Shift+U.
4) Speed and peace of mind
They say there’s no way you can get viruses on a Mac or Linux but the truth is, you can! Even if that’s the truth, I am smart enough to surf the web with caution and I feel kinda safer in Linux, I also let my friends to insert their filthy, virus-infected, dirty little USB sticks on my laptop because of that peace of mind.
The OS is fast but you may find Ubuntu being a bit slower than say Linux Mint or others. By the way, Linux Mint is awesome, my uni uses it as a Windows alternative and it’s super fast even in old machines.